Personal Cash Flow Calculator
This calculator tool will help you examine your household’s cash inflow and outflow. First input any cash inflow. This will consist of things like paychecks for both you and your spouse, tax refunds, and interest and dividend income. Enter a description of each source of inflow, followed by the number of payments per year and the amount of each payment. The amount each payment accounts for per month will appear automatically.
Once you’ve provided the necessary information pertaining to cash inflow, it’s time to input all sources of cash outflow. This includes monthly transportation, residential, and entertainment costs, amongst others. Provide descriptions for each outflow payment, as well as the number of times each outflow payment occurs per year and its amount.
Press CALCULATE for each outflow category (as well as inflow), and click on the CREATE REPORT button. A separate window will open with a detailed, printable breakdown of your cash inflow and outflow.
If you don’t need such a detailed report, you can simply press CALCULATE, and you’ll then see your total monthly outflows and your net cash flow per month.
Managing Your Monthly Cashflow
It's not terribly uncommon for adults to find themselves living from paycheck-to-paycheck or relying on credit cards to get by. And this is no surprise considering how consumerism can lead us to living beyond our means.
But there are ways to improve your personal finances, and it all starts with having an awareness of what you're spending, after which you must take a long, hard look at what you really need and what you can truly afford.
From there, you can cut spending, increase earnings, and otherwise boost your liquid capital and your available resources. Here are some tips that will help improve your relative financial solvency.
Balance Your Budget
There are really only two things to consider when creating any budget: income and expenses. And balancing these numbers is as simple as making sure the number in column A is greater than the number in column B.
In other words, don't spend more than you make and you'll have a balanced budget. Of course, that's a pretty bare-bones approach to budgeting. In reality, the process can be much more complex.
Still, a balanced budget is essential for anyone looking to optimize their financial standing. If you're having trouble with a lack of capital, a balanced budget is the first step towards rectifying the situation.
And once you take the time to chart your income and expenses, you’ll gain awareness of how your spending matches up to your earnings. Fairly soon, you should be able to see areas where you can trim the fat in order to balance your accounts, save some dough, and increase your available resources.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
Are you still paying for that gym membership you never use? Even if it's only twenty bucks a month, that's money you could be using elsewhere.
And although you may not buy into the theory that print is dead, the truth is that you hardly need to pay for magazine subscriptions any more. All the content you could ever want is now available for free online.
Then there are major monthly expenses like dining out and entertainment to consider. All of these unnecessary costs can add up to a pretty hefty sum over time, especially if you don't pay much attention to what you're spending.
So if your priority is to improve your financial situation and increase fluid assets, it is imperative that you find ways to tighten the belt, perhaps by dining in or considering cheaper forms of entertainment. These frivolous expenses can have a major impact on your budget.
This may sound kind of silly, but there are extreme couponers who "work" from home, clipping coupons and finding deals to save money on the things they buy every day. And some end up saving tens of thousands of dollars annually, supplanting the income they might have earned at a traditional job.
Even if you only save a small percentage on every shopping trip, that's money in the bank that you wouldn't have otherwise enjoyed. So clip coupons, look for coupon codes, and find ways to get every purchase at a discount.
It may not be a very sexy way to reduce spending, but it can be effective if you're willing to put in the time and effort required. And if you end up saving your household $20,000 in a year, for example, it will certainly be time well spent.
Buy in Bulk
Although you might not have the freezer space to store pounds of meat, and your family might not make it through Costco-sized portions of dairy before they go bad, there are plenty of non-perishable items you can buy in bulk to cut costs.
Or if you want to enjoy the same savings on perishable goods, team up with neighbors or friends to split bulk purchases, saving money for everybody in the process.
Adopt a DIY Attitude
There are several home maintenance services the average homeowner pays for annually, such as HVAC cleaning and inspection, flushing the water heater, snaking the drains, unclogging gutters and downspouts, and on and on. You might even hire gardeners or cleaning crews for your house if you're particularly busy.
But these are areas where you can definitely cut costs with a DIY mentality. Nearly all of these tasks can be carried out by homeowners willing to learn how.
Although some may be messy, most are not beyond the ability of the average homeowner to complete. You simply have to know when you're out of your depth so that you don't end up doing more harm than good.
In the meantime, you can save hundreds of dollars you might have paid to have air filters swapped out or your water heater flushed by a professional service provider. And you could save even more by mowing your lawn and sticking to a schedule of cleaning tasks.
Credit card debt can turn into a vicious cycle of spending. You spend on credit because you don't have cash, but then interest payments increase what you owe to the point where you are unable to save money and you end up spending even more on credit.
A good solution that can help you get off the merry-go-round of debt more quickly is to consolidate debt by moving certain card balances to the lowest-interest card. Then, cancel the others to avoid temptation. You'll have to tighten the belt for a bit, but the end result will be less debt and more capital.
You might also consider refinancing as a way to free up money that would otherwise go towards your mortgage each month. In some cases, you can roll in other debt and, thanks to reduced interest rates, pay significantly less each month.
Get a Part-Time Job
If you run out of ideas for cutting costs, the only other way to improve your financial prospects is by earning more income. And the easiest way to do this is to take on extra work.
With so many work-at-home jobs, parents that might have previously lacked the prospects to bring home a second income can now find opportunities that allow them to continue raising a family while avoiding the cost of daycare.
And those who already hold a traditional job outside the home can find options that allow for a flexible schedule. Telecommuting is also a great option for students looking to increase earnings, even as they work towards their degrees and better-paying jobs.